One of the best ways to bring positivity into our relationships is through compliments. Compliments cost nothing, but always enrich the receiver – so it makes sense to be generous with them; it is an easy way to improve any situation.
Not all compliments are equal, however, and some are better than others. There is a skill in giving effective compliments.
Firstly, one must ensure that they are genuine – people can easily tell when a compliment is false or forced, and then the intended effect will have backfired.
Secondly, it is always preferable to give positive feedback as close to the event as possible – the more immediate the positive feedback, the better it will be received.
Thirdly, compliments are more effective when they are specific, rather than general, and focused on a particular strength of the person. So, for example, instead of saying “nice job on the project,” a more specific, strength-centered compliment would focus on the characteristic that allowed the person to do such a good job. For example:
“You are one of the most efficient members of our office team. You completed that project in record time. Thanks.”
This kind of statement is more effective because it is about who the person is, not only about what they have done – so it is received deeper by that person. These kinds of compliments should always be followed up by the evidence that the person does have that particular strength, as in the above example.